Ricardo Nicolayevsky. NYC ’83. Digital video from 16mm (black and white, sound), 2:39 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Ricardo Nicolayevsky’s NYC ’83

March 9–April 9, 2018 The Museum of Modern Art

Mexican artist, filmmaker, and musician Ricardo Nicolayevsky relocated to New York in 1980 to attend film school at New York University. Thus began his ambitious Lost Portraits cycle, comprising lyrical portraits of friends and peers shot on Super8 and 16mm across several years and sojourns in both Mexico and the US. Figuration and cinematic narrative play off of symbolism and abstraction across these avant-garde vignettes. As Mexican poet Luis Felipe Fabre observed, Nicolayevsky’s subjects “enact private performances of selfhood, exaggerating to the point of becoming absent and turning themselves, precisely, into their own portraits.... A presence disappears and becomes a symbol of what once was. Do the Lost Portraits portray an era? Are they a record of ’80s underground culture?” These words resonate as you watch NYC ’83, a 1983 portrait of Nicolayevsky’s Lower East Side neighborhood. Its formal experimentation and electronic soundtracks by Nicolayevsky and collaborator Barbara Ireland emphasize the enduring grit of a soon-to-be-gentrified neighborhood.

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.